Turkey to produce ‘sweet’ natural gas, says minister
Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Dönmez has said Turkey must concentrate on producing its own natural gas not to be affected by the fluctuations in global energy prices, adding that the quality of the natural gas discovered in the Black Sea was high.
“If we had oil, natural gas and coal, we would not be faced with speculative and irrational prices right now,” Dönmez said during a meeting with economy reporters in Istanbul.
Energy investments in the world slowed down during the pandemic, and when there was a rapid recovery, there was a shortage of supply, the minister said, adding that there are 540 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves in the Sakarya Gas Field in the Black Sea.
“We want to connect this to our system in the first quarter of 2023,” Dönmez said. “There will be around 3-4 billion cubic meters of production in the first year. We will reach the maximum level of 15-20 billion cubic meters in 2026. This will meet the natural gas needs of all residences in Turkey for approximately 25 years. As domestic gas enters, expensive gas will exit the system.”
Noting that natural gas contains low and high levels of sulfur, moisture and particles, Dönmez said, “The gas in the Black Sea is what is called ‘sweet gas.’ The separation process will likely not cost much.”
Turkey’s total energy bill is expected to reach $55 billion this year, up from the 10-year average of $45 billion, according to the minister’s remarks. “I don’t think it will drop next year,” he said, pointing to soaring natural gas prices, particularly in Europe.
In recent years, Turkey imported around 45 billion cubic meters of natural per year paying approximately $12 billion to pipeline exporters Russia, Azerbaijan and İran, as well as LNG suppliers including Qatar, Nigeria, Algeria and the United States. Nearly a third of the country’s gas needs are met with LNG supplies.
This year, total natural gas consumption in Turkey is expected to hit 60 billion cubic meters. In a bid to close the gap,
Turkey has made additional agreements with supplier countries.
Botaş has been operating a floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in the southern province of Hatay, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the northwestern province of Tekirdağ and two underground natural gas storage facilities in Istanbul’s Silivri district and the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray.
Turkey provides the cheapest natural gas in Europe with a wide margin, said Dönmez.
While the average natural gas price for households is 0.17 euros per cubic meter in Turkey, it is 0.26 euros in Ukraine, 0.93 euros in the United Kingdom, 1.3 euros in Germany and 1.9 euros in the Netherlands.
Turkey’s Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (Botaş) provides natural gas to industrial zones and power stations for nearly three times higher prices. The total cost of price subsidies for households in natural gas will be around 80 billion Turkish Liras ($7 billion), while in electricity, it will be around 20 billion liras ($1.8 billion), Dönmez said.
European and U.K. gas prices rocketed nearly six-fold this year on strong winter demand and simmering geopolitical tensions between key supplier Russia and consumer nations.